Tap to unmute

The Language Sounds That Could Exist, But Don't

  • Publicado em 1 Set 2019
  • The International Phonetic Alphabet: one sound for each symbol, and one symbol for each sound. Except for the sounds we can't make. Pull down the description for the references! MORE LANGUAGE FILES: brclip.com/user/playlist?list...
    Written with Gretchen McCulloch and Molly Ruhl. Gretchen's new book, BECAUSE INTERNET, is available now:
    🇺🇸 US: amzn.to/30tLpjT
    🇨🇦 CA: amzn.to/2JsTYWH
    🇬🇧 UK: amzn.to/31K8eRD
    (Those are affiliate links that give a commission to me or Gretchen, depending on country!)
    Gretchen can be found at lingthusiasm.com/
    Harbeck, J. (2009). Presented at the 30th annual Editors’ Association of Canada conference, Toronto, June 6, 2009.
    Algeo, J., & Pyles, T. (2004). The origins and development of the English language (5th ed.). Boston, Mass.: Thomson/Wadsworth.
    Nicolaidis, Katerina (2005). "Approval of new IPA sound: the labiodental flap". Journal of the International Phonetic Association. 35 (2): 261.
    I'm at tomscott.com
    on Twitter at tomscott
    on Facebook at tomscott
    and on Instagram as tomscottgo

Comentários • 9 876

  • Tom Scott
    Tom Scott  3 anos atrás +11081

    And that's it for this run of the Language Files! Thanks to co-authors Gretchen McCulloch and Molly Ruhl, and animator Stephen Houston-Moore. And to answer the question that'll get asked ten times in response to this, these videos and comments get scheduled weeks in advance so I don't have to worry about actually being online when they launch.

    • beargreen1
      beargreen1 4 meses atrás


    • matrixfull
      matrixfull 5 meses atrás

      I wonder if you could predict how gray spaces would sound like if they were possible using computers and whatnot? would be fun to hear I think

    • TungstenCarbideProjectile
      TungstenCarbideProjectile 9 meses atrás

      I feel like we make the veela trill with a gob of spit once in a while

    • hboy007
      hboy007 10 meses atrás

      velar trill: not necessarily possible by exhaling, but try inhaling instead

    • Jj Mn
      Jj Mn 11 meses atrás


  • TheCaptain
    TheCaptain Anos atrás +14607

    But could we use an AI to simulate those “impossible” sounds? It would be really cool to hear them

    • Liam Booth
      Liam Booth 2 dias atrás

      If they can be described they can be made.

    • Roci2TheRai
      Roci2TheRai 5 dias atrás

      @BreadIsPain tbf

    • Daniel Huelsman
      Daniel Huelsman Mês atrás

      Alternatively, we could ask Michael Winslow if he can do it. He might like the challenge or he's already found a way to do it.

    • eoghan.
      eoghan. Mês atrás +1

      @Al Brown The problem is that there is no "it" to produce. For instance, all "alveolar trill" means is "the sound made when a human trills their tongue against the alveolar ridge". There is only a sound "the alveolar trill" because we can produce it. So because we cannot produce a velar trill, there is no sound "the velar trill". Therefore, there is no sound to target when artificially producing it.

    • Vaydore
      Vaydore Mês atrás

      Chad behavior:
      >*someone makes reasonable suggestion*
      >refuses to elaborate further
      >goes offline

  • rando
    rando Anos atrás +3004

    We've been spelling 'Briʔish' wrong this whole time

  • mei lia
    mei lia Anos atrás +728

    the reason why that glottal stop occurs in “hawai’i” is because the hawaiian language actually uses the glottal stop as a letter, called the ‘okina. the closest a modern keyboard can get to writing an ‘okina is using an apostrophe, which is what i’m doing here, but in reality, the ‘okina is a separate character and it is included as a letter in the hawaiian alphabet. it’s also present in words like a’a (a type of lava) and pa’u (a traditional skirt). The ‘okina can’t just be left out of words either, because, and using pa’u as an example, “pau” just means “done”, not “skirt.” It affects pronunciation and meaning, and it’s really just a fascinating part of hawaiian language.

    • Lolly
      Lolly 3 dias atrás

      Hey I know it's similar in Tongan, and Samoan. Though not where I live way on the other side of the ocean from Hawaii. Where the word hawaiki is the place people go after they die.

    • Nova Ace
      Nova Ace Mês atrás

      @Noah Yudkin so I did some research, and what you said is mostly true, in Arabic it represents the pharyngeal stop /ʡ/, so it’s a stop in between the uvular stop (sound quf represents in Arabic) and the global stop. But very interesting!

    • Noah Yudkin
      Noah Yudkin Mês atrás +1

      @Nova Ace fun fact: ayin didn't used to represent a glottal stop and used to represent a very strange almost indescribable sound (kind of like a "g" but in the back of the throat and not plosive) still found in Arabic.

    • Nova Ace
      Nova Ace 4 meses atrás +6

      Hebrew actually has 2 letters that represent glottal stops, א (‘aleph) and ע (‘ayin)

    • saksağan
      saksağan 4 meses atrás +3

      GLO‘AL S‘OP

  • J. Surnámez
    J. Surnámez Anos atrás +435

    fun party game: gather all your friends and you all take turns trying to make the FORBIDDEN SOUNDS and then vote on who did it best

    • Lucyan December
      Lucyan December Mês atrás

      I love that😂

    • a grey dolphin
      a grey dolphin 2 meses atrás +2

      @Anonymous i almost choked-

    • Jim Baker
      Jim Baker 6 meses atrás +1

      @Molybdaenmornell I wonder if this isn't really the thing about them being listed as impossible...

    • Tzschyo
      Tzschyo 8 meses atrás +9

      @Anonymous congratulations you just made me pronounce a breathy r, is that even a thing

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous 9 meses atrás +6

      I tried to do the 'velar trill' and here's what I did (spoiler: when I tried it, I failed):
      1. Bring your tongue to the back of your mouth. Also, keep the tongue on the top of your mouth, like rolling your r's.
      2. Open your mouth wide to give your tongue space.
      3. exhale, but don't let the air go around the side
      Verdict: I was able to make the tongue vibrate, but it moved forward slightly meaning it was more of a palatal trill instead!

  • Kenny
    Kenny Anos atrás +64

    I want a video with all of the "possible, but unused" sounds being pronounced.

  • Susmit Islam
    Susmit Islam 2 anos atrás +6592

    So this is basically a periodic table of human linguistic elements.

    • Dr Dust
      Dr Dust 2 meses atrás

      /ɦ/ be radioactive now

    • Nicole Raheem
      Nicole Raheem 3 meses atrás


    • エルフェン・リート
      エルフェン・リート 3 meses atrás +1

      @Georgi Angelov the periodic table works kinda the same, you have the periods as rows and the orbitals (or "groups" like Halogens, noble gases, alkali-metals etc.) as your columns. Same principal. Elements in a shared column have similar properties while rows differ in mass and overall stability.

    • Anirudh
      Anirudh 4 meses atrás

      Not really, it's mostly euro centric, my language which is south Asian language is not included in it

    • Khasab
      Khasab Anos atrás


  • Lua
    Lua 4 meses atrás +26

    Of note: "hiccough" is a back-formation, "hiccup" is the older term. The spelling -cough came about from false-association with coughing.

  • Phyl K
    Phyl K 11 meses atrás +242

    My parents are actually linguists and phoneticists and they always say to me “haaaarrrr kkkkk ha! Ooooowwwaaallllah qah-zah-blahc-kaaaahhh! At 2pm”.
    Always brings a tear to my eye if I’m being honest.

    • O
      O 6 meses atrás +3

      Is that Klingon?

    • Charvie
      Charvie 9 meses atrás +13

      Looks like a google meet code

    • Phyl K
      Phyl K 10 meses atrás +5

      @Missingtextures its definitely special

    • Missingtextures
      Missingtextures 10 meses atrás +3

      Kinda wanna hear that

  • Shambhav
    Shambhav Anos atrás +101

    Has anyone tried doing a Bilabial trill in school and when the teacher starts scolding you for being silly:
    "Sir, it's called a voiced bilabial trill which is formally recognised by the IPA with the symbol of B. It's used in languages like Pihara and was also used in a German poem for br sounds."

  • My Uncle Works For Nintendo

    I feel like we can definitely make a trill "k" sound, though? It's the sound someone makes when snoring (exhaling), but also it is used in speech because some people do it when they scoff.

    • Low poly sonic
      Low poly sonic 2 meses atrás +1

      x ə xə
      χ ə χə

    • XQQ437 0
      XQQ437 0 3 meses atrás +1

      @Umar Faupel no need to apologize bud

    • squodge productions
      squodge productions 5 meses atrás +7

      I think the sound you're describing is the French R, which is represented in the IPA chart by that rotated capital R.

    • Umar Faupel
      Umar Faupel 5 meses atrás +24

      sorry, but thats either a uvular trill/fricative or a palatal fricative (like the ch in loch or stereotypical german ch). im sorry but a velar is impossible

    • BTLGRLno9
      BTLGRLno9 6 meses atrás +6

      neither of those are voluntarily making that specific noise, though, is I think what the problem is. and especially in the case of snoring, your head is in a position not usually maintained during speech

  • Lone Starr
    Lone Starr 3 anos atrás +8343

    I can totally imagine a bunch of scientists sitting together trying to produce all kinds of strange sounds just to decide whether a box of the table should be white or gray.

    • KingsleykhoFriesYT
      KingsleykhoFriesYT 21 dia atrás

      dark white

    • Konniving Fox
      Konniving Fox Mês atrás

      It is fun. I can make a trill h type sound. I can also mimic purring so that might be a factor.

    • Mushroom Man
      Mushroom Man 4 meses atrás

      @KarolaTea jfoi☆■¿¡》¿◇вона ◇◇◇◇¡□śèğû. В результаті якого.gfffggggg

    • Flipdrivel
      Flipdrivel 5 meses atrás

      @Naþan Ø (phoneticians)

    • Zipporian
      Zipporian Anos atrás

      @Cogi the Fool key word: *imagine*

  • S I O M A I
    S I O M A I 11 meses atrás +26

    Tom: these sounds are impossible for a human to produce
    Me: **chokes on air for 5 minutes straight*

  • Tomoeine
    Tomoeine Anos atrás +5

    I was taught IPA for my BM and they never talked about the theorized impossible or potentially possible sounds. That's so cool!

  • maburaho1
    maburaho1 Anos atrás

    What a great, informative video!! I learnt a number of things from this that I had already been thinking about, but could never quite put into words in my head. I am really impressed

  • Jorge E
    Jorge E 9 meses atrás +1

    I learned IPA symbols and it helped me pronounce any language I want to learn easily. While other people struggle for long times to be able to pronounce a single word, pronunciation is not a big issue for me anymore.

  • Michael Friesen
    Michael Friesen Anos atrás +3696

    I thought from the title you would be pronouncing the letters that can be pronounced but are not found in languages. I would love to hear those.

    • NutronStar45
      NutronStar45 Mês atrás

      try to make /f/ a plosive

    • João Pedro F. de Carvalho
      João Pedro F. de Carvalho 2 meses atrás

      Instead its just another "english spelling is weird, so here is the IPA and its features"

    • Qwertyuiop Lkjhgfdsa
      Qwertyuiop Lkjhgfdsa 4 meses atrás

      @Gabriele Iuzzolino no, you misinterpreted it

    • Gabriele Iuzzolino
      Gabriele Iuzzolino 4 meses atrás +3

      @Ursula P. me too, the title is wrong

    • Luc Taylor
      Luc Taylor 5 meses atrás +1

      Yes, I did want to hear them, even if it's a computer simulation or something like that

  • ObiWanBillKenobi
    ObiWanBillKenobi Anos atrás +3

    I had a lesson on these IPA tables at an SCA gathering once under the category of language study (Society for Creative Anachronism; think of it as Ren Fest except as a serious lifestyle hobby). Thanks for making this video!

  • Andrew Salazar
    Andrew Salazar Anos atrás +2

    I wish English classes taught more about how the language evolved or came to be rather than just writing essays about random topics. This is much more interesting to me thank you😁

  • Mohamed ElDeraa
    Mohamed ElDeraa Mês atrás

    Of all the things you make videos about, linguistics are by far my top favourite. They have really made my ears more sensitive to things in speech I never knew existed, and have made me realise that what I thought was unique to certain languages probably exists in other languages, but just really less emphasized and less central to them.

  • Roger Sledz
    Roger Sledz Anos atrás +1

    Thank you so much for uploading this video. It is helping me get through the pandemic!

  • Pasty
    Pasty 3 anos atrás +24110

    I'm a little disappointed that we didn't get to hear how those "possible but never used in any language" consonants sound like.

    • AsuranFish
      AsuranFish 19 dias atrás

      @Satan There's no f in english.

    • Lucyan December
      Lucyan December Mês atrás

      @Yuki Endo true😂

    • Etg Sur YouTube
      Etg Sur YouTube 9 meses atrás

      the letter "r" is pronounced a bit differently in every language, it is probably something similar to this

    • ThatOneKaneelFurry
      ThatOneKaneelFurry Anos atrás

      @EmptyCarrots What you mean no f in English?

    • Wesley Mays
      Wesley Mays Anos atrás

      - Chewbacca
      - Dying owl
      - Perry the Platypus
      - Choking on a whole pineapple
      And so on

  • Basic Stuff
    Basic Stuff 8 meses atrás

    I learned waaaay more with this video than in my 6 months of Phonetics and Linguistics subjects in university lmao. Great video

  • Fooly Boi
    Fooly Boi 9 meses atrás

    Love how Tom Scott can make a video on the most mundane topics and I’ll still watch all of them

  • Mike the Goo
    Mike the Goo Anos atrás

    I tried some of the impossible ones, and I feel like I did at least one at least almost right, but they mostly sound like choking sounds, but without the choking part, so they sound less worrying and more just weird.

  • ElectricAirways
    ElectricAirways 6 meses atrás

    I tried to make my own "letter", and found a weird sound that can be, in theory, be used as a genuine sound for a language!

  • the future is female.
    the future is female. Anos atrás +6064

    The best thing is to imagine a group of phonologists and linguists trying to judge whether a sound is impossible or not, these PhDs and postdoctorals making choking sounds without stopping the movement of air, trying to roll their Ks....

  • Daniel Stein
    Daniel Stein Anos atrás

    From the videos heading I would have expected simulated sounds of the not that dark areas. Have simulations of anatomically possible, but not yet used phonetics been conducted?

  • kkachi
    kkachi Anos atrás

    this was a super interesting video! thank you for making it :D

  • KLA
    KLA 10 meses atrás

    this one video taught me more about phonetics than an entire year at university. wish I'd seen this sooner!

  • Mahapushpa Cyavana
    Mahapushpa Cyavana 4 meses atrás

    You can hold the constants on their own (I did it). They just sound really weird and are hard to recognize without remembering where they come from.

  • TheManWithTheFlan
    TheManWithTheFlan Anos atrás +16649

    although i thought i could pronounce things thoroughly enough, "hiccough" just ploughed right through me.

    • Quinn The Axolotl 🇺🇦
      Quinn The Axolotl 🇺🇦 24 dias atrás

      nice one

    • Alex Moreno
      Alex Moreno Mês atrás

      no one spells it hiccough though

    • be4
      be4 Mês atrás

      @Natalie Ueno the irony of you putting an ‘a’ before “English”

    • NorthGaReptile
      NorthGaReptile Mês atrás

      Its difficult, sure, but it could be understood through tough thorough thought though.

    • SalTea •
      SalTea • 4 meses atrás

      i hate that i could say that correctly.

  • Rachelle Beyer
    Rachelle Beyer 11 meses atrás

    I have ALWAYS wondered about this; possible sounds that just aren’t used, and impossible sounds we can imagine but not actually do.

  • GhoustTM
    GhoustTM Anos atrás

    This video is awesome
    I never knew this IPA thing existed but it sure helped with my idea of an otherworldly being so hard to comprehend that their language has to be simplified by ur own brain to understand it
    I've been havign trouble on imagining what noise could make that screams unworldly just by the fact a mere standard human wouldn't be able to make it
    This helped my idea lots. Now i can visualize better what their vocals would be like. Extra tongues, airholes, and all

  • the great lumberjack King
    the great lumberjack King 11 meses atrás +1

    English is a cobbled together mix of different cultures and dialects thats been through alot and changed significantly that relatively recently. Got standardized

  • Laney Lion
    Laney Lion Anos atrás +11

    this got deeper than I expected, I wish to hear the impossible

  • almostfm
    almostfm Anos atrás +8709

    As someone once said: English is a language where "cough" "rough" and "through" don't rhyme, but "pony" and "bologna" do.

    • Alex Moreno
      Alex Moreno Mês atrás +1

      We spell it baloney though, bot bologna - that's a city in Italy

    • Bob Jones
      Bob Jones 4 meses atrás

      Honestly, why is "bologna" even pronounced like that? The word its originated from which is Italian named after a city is not anything like that

    • Lua
      Lua 4 meses atrás

      ugh gross American pronunciations. No respectable person pronounces bologna as bolony.

    • Jim Jimson
      Jim Jimson 4 meses atrás


    • Matthew Cox
      Matthew Cox 8 meses atrás

      @Wesley Mays Only 3?

  • theglem4
    theglem4 Anos atrás

    I wonder if it is possible to make machines, models, something like that that can make all phonetic sounds, including impossible ones.

  • JulesOnly
    JulesOnly 11 meses atrás

    This is so interesting, I loved every second of this video.

  • Vitor Vasconcelos
    Vitor Vasconcelos 4 meses atrás

    One of the most interesting videos I ever watched in BRclip. Thanks, Tom.

  • Ethan
    Ethan Anos atrás

    I feel like I want to make an entire language out of unused sounds which are possible for humans to make

  • Joaquin Jose Martinez
    Joaquin Jose Martinez 2 anos atrás +6128

    someone should make a machine to pronounce the grayed-out areas.

    • Mine Crap
      Mine Crap Anos atrás

      @Mirzə no, they are not

    • evvy!!
      evvy!! Anos atrás

      @ICEO FROST while it would work for speech it would still have the limitations as a normal person talking

    • evvy!!
      evvy!! Anos atrás

      @Z A deleted their comment

    • An_Annoying_Cat
      An_Annoying_Cat Anos atrás


    • Alex Bosse
      Alex Bosse Anos atrás +1

      Humans: *Make machine*
      Cthulu: Who has awakened my from my slumber?

  • Shane Taylor
    Shane Taylor Anos atrás

    I vote one of the things we do when we almost inevitably mess with human genetics is give ourselves the ability to do the Forbidden Noises

  • ArynnBeeFox
    ArynnBeeFox Anos atrás

    Thanks Tom Scott for accidentally helping me come up with ideas for my imaginary language for my imaginary world

  • JTL 13
    JTL 13 Anos atrás

    Amazing Vid, very well explained (for me as a total amateur) and srtaight to the point

  • Simran Bansal
    Simran Bansal Anos atrás

    I have an English class this sem and these videos so helpful and fun to understand! Thanks tom for this, if i pass this sem, it's on you

  • Martijn van Weele
    Martijn van Weele Anos atrás +8104

    Imagine meeting aliens and trying to learn their language:
    "No, you're saying it wrong; it's said with a velar trill."
    "How am I supposed to make a velar trill!?"
    "You press your globox against the back of your throat."
    "Humans don't have a globox."
    "What an awful way to live..."

    • Destroyer Creator
      Destroyer Creator Mês atrás

      Humans are space orcs))

    • Lucyan December
      Lucyan December Mês atrás

      @Mr. W o.o

    • Martijn van Weele
      Martijn van Weele 4 meses atrás

      @David I love that someone got that.

    • David
      David 4 meses atrás +1

      globox from rayman legends?

    • Mr. W
      Mr. W 7 meses atrás

      @UneXplored Dimensions You’re a person after my own heart. That is a sentiment I’ve often expressed. Earth is full of natural wonders, which is a bit like saying water is wet, but still needs constant reminding.

  • Edfinite
    Edfinite Anos atrás

    Me :Well....I never...but sir!!!
    Also me: This was amazing to me as a layperson who is into words and meaning. But to breakdown the places in our bodies that make sounds used to communicate and all possible and even theoretical sounds possible is something I had never thought about.

  • Astrovation
    Astrovation 9 meses atrás

    This def made my appreciation for languages and the way we talk work bigger

  • The Raging Platypus
    The Raging Platypus 5 meses atrás

    You can combine the H and lateral l sound. Say an H with your tongue in the L position. Definitely a unique sound and I would argue more distinguishable than the German ö and ü.

  • ッSpacenerdy
    ッSpacenerdy Anos atrás

    Is there a video where the white space sounds are pronounced? I really would love to hear how they sound :0

  • Daniel e Harris
    Daniel e Harris Anos atrás +1448

    Fun fact: My wife’s grandparents worked as Bible translators in Brazil and discovered two phonemes which has never been used before in the indigenous language they were working with.

    • Alonso B
      Alonso B Mês atrás

      @Rogier V misleading claim

    • Rogier V
      Rogier V 2 meses atrás

      @Sempre Que Você Ler Os Comentarios Eu Estarei Lá As Spain expanded into the Americas, so did the Inquisition

    • Ekl Haft
      Ekl Haft 4 meses atrás +2

      @George Cabrera I am an atheist too and I don't feel the need to force this world view on people in a language discussion. How come?

    • O
      O 6 meses atrás

      @Maldito sh = aCHas, x = CHiado, q = aTCHoum

    • JohnGisMe
      JohnGisMe 6 meses atrás

      @Patrick McCurry They have been found to match almost perfectly. The only change has been in spelling, grammar, and words that don't have an exact translation.

  • Enoch Heckman
    Enoch Heckman 5 meses atrás

    I think it might be possible to make a sound like a velar trill by using saliva pooled under the middle area of the roof of your mouth with your tongue and titling your head slightly back. It ends up sounding like a cat’s hiss but wetter when I try to do it. We might not have flesh loose enough to flap there, but air passing through liquid creates a very similar effect.

  • shinkikomori
    shinkikomori Anos atrás

    In ancient greek they also categorize vowels depending on how u make that sound

  • اباتراب [ F ] علي زامل

    Ive watched this vid years ago, but never did I think about specialising in it.
    Now here I am, once again, between now and then. A phonetic expert _-_

  • moon
    moon 3 meses atrás

    as a linguistics student, im proud that i can understand this video. i did learn something afterall

  • 73hhK41
    73hhK41 6 meses atrás +1

    Hey Scott!
    I have a REALLY long uvula, and I can trill a k type of sound. It makes an interesting sound, a bit like dragging a chair across a floor, or sometimes like a shallow purr of a cat (something like that).

  • Alfred Nyberg
    Alfred Nyberg Anos atrás

    In Swedish, we have a dialect called "Skånska", which makes our typical trill R sound kind of Glottal

  • DJRY
    DJRY Anos atrás

    My linguistics professor told us that there are some languages that certain tribes of people speak from I think parts to of Africa that are impossible for anyone who is not from that tribe to speak. Something like they have evolved certain features that allow them to produce certain sounds that you or I having not been born of those people cannot.

  • Alex Wenn
    Alex Wenn 9 meses atrás

    would it be a good idea or even possable to create a new language and symbols? the english language is broken in a lot of ways just look it up it hilarious and its apparantly the hardest to learn because of all the inconsistencies, im just thinking it would be cool to develope an optimal language and symbol system

  • Alex Brown
    Alex Brown Anos atrás +4574

    Tom: **impossible and unusable sounds**
    Beatboxers: I recognize the council has made a decision, but given that it's a *stupid* decision I've elected to ignore it.

    • Tiago Cavalcanti
      Tiago Cavalcanti 20 horas atrás

      I wanna be your friend

    • Sadpotato
      Sadpotato 8 meses atrás

      I understood that reference

    • derpnerpwerp
      derpnerpwerp 9 meses atrás +2

      Boxbeaters: *vigorously beats box*

    • JesTer
      JesTer 9 meses atrás +4

      Some of those white spaces can indeed be created using beatbox techniques. For example the velar trill section has been extensively been used with numerous k snare rolls or duck rolls, pitching them is also possible with the tightening or loosening of the jaw in that corner too. I'd love to see an updated version of this chart with perhaps Reeps Ones input.

    • Rex
      Rex 10 meses atrás +20

      @Luke V This is kinda a stupid argument. Nobody said beatboxing was a language, but to say it's impossible for the used methods to be turned into a language is silly.

  • lee jones
    lee jones 9 meses atrás

    A standard Sign language should be taught to every human as a second language. Because everyone has ascent and sometimes its hard to understand someone who is communicating in another language.

  • Dill Doe
    Dill Doe 9 meses atrás +2

    Learning English is difficult, it can be taught through tough thorough thought though…

  • Soren
    Soren 9 meses atrás

    Cool way to do an alien language, then, would be to figure out how one of the gray zones should sound to our ears, then find a way to make that noise, and use it as a dub when the alien is speaking in their native tongue.

  • The History Quine
    The History Quine 9 meses atrás

    Haha, English people can't do velar friccatives, but we Scots can. I love this stuff, wish I'd done some linguistics in my English degree

  • John Foley
    John Foley 2 anos atrás +5860

    I just tried a glottal lateral, now i need a fresh shirt.

    • poop gt
      poop gt 4 meses atrás

      I just tried an anal lateral, now i need fresh pants

    • Qwertyuiop Lkjhgfdsa
      Qwertyuiop Lkjhgfdsa Anos atrás +1

      @Mr. Flibble's Sumerian Translations STOP FLEXING YOUR BIG BRAIN NESS

    • Jazmin Dodds
      Jazmin Dodds Anos atrás +1

      You just made me spit out my tea

    • Kado
      Kado Anos atrás +1

      @Mr. Flibble's Sumerian Translations stop being smart >:(

    • PHANX0M
      PHANX0M Anos atrás


  • Wrexham chants
    Wrexham chants Anos atrás

    Every video I watch I feel immediately smarter there for I’m going to watch more videos you are truly one smart person professor Tom Scott have you ever thought about doing a collab with smarter every day?

  • DisT0rted
    DisT0rted 11 meses atrás

    I've seen videos where they use pistons or something to make a silicon mouth speak, if you modified that mouth with certain extra bits of silicon (extra tissue), could you theoretically use such a device to create those sounds?

  • Michael Sawyer
    Michael Sawyer 9 meses atrás

    Can you make a video on how modern TTS works? I wonder if the charts you talked about here is used there.

  • Lucien Ritorto
    Lucien Ritorto Anos atrás +2

    English is a difficult language. It can be understood through tough thorough thought, though.

  • Matthew Thedford
    Matthew Thedford Anos atrás +5249

    Tom: “You can’t do a velar trill.”
    Most People: *Gollum noises*
    Me: *Aggressive purring*

    • Chitwan Singh
      Chitwan Singh Dia atrás


    • The Koifish Coyote
      The Koifish Coyote Mês atrás

      I bubble saliva

    • In4mal_baker
      In4mal_baker 4 meses atrás

      Am i the only one making predator noises at 3 am?

    • Zack Buildit
      Zack Buildit 5 meses atrás +1

      That would be a voiced uvular trill, not a velar trill. A true velar trill isn’t possible, but what is possible is a soft palatal velarized trill, which does have an actual velar point of articulation, but it’s trilling the soft palate instead of the tongue, making it also technically nonvelar

    • Claire Boitet
      Claire Boitet 5 meses atrás

      THIS! I can as well, brother cat!

  • Aleksandr Nestrato
    Aleksandr Nestrato 5 meses atrás

    5:04 Tried. It is possible. Voiced one is way easier than the unvoiced one.
    Reminded me a kinda palatalised or softened version of the Uvular trill.

  • zion fultz
    zion fultz 8 meses atrás

    Wanna note how with 130 letters and three characters per sound you could notate every sound a human can produce nicely(with some tones thrown in)

  • Kristina Wagner
    Kristina Wagner 10 meses atrás

    I'm studying linguistics and i love this video🤩

  • blu
    blu Anos atrás +8

    6:14 “you can’t hold the letter p for that long”
    Literally 5 seconds earlier: *Bilabial Trill*
    Edit: I mean technically the bilabial voiceless trill has a symbol, but the voiced one doesn’t, but it isn’t grayed out so it still counts

    • Andrew Sheedy
      Andrew Sheedy 10 meses atrás

      The bilabial trill isn't /p/ because /p/ is a voiceless bilabial stop. It's pronounced in the same part of the mouth as the bilabial trill, but it's a different kind of sound.

  • Hakurei Reimu
    Hakurei Reimu Anos atrás +2807

    "You can't get your tongue down in your throat"
    Well, not in this website

    • ewan hamilton
      ewan hamilton Anos atrás

      live leak

    • Shade
      Shade Anos atrás

      I mean, almost did

    • NinjaEagle [Devil's Taxi Driver]
      NinjaEagle [Devil's Taxi Driver] Anos atrás +1


    • Sachin Mehta
      Sachin Mehta Anos atrás


    • George Weilenmann
      George Weilenmann Anos atrás +3

      instead of trilling with the tip of the tongue or the back of the tongue try trilling with the mid-point of the soft palate voiced sounds a bit like Chewbacca and unvoiced sounds a bit like a breathy big cats purr without as much of the bass tones.

  • RogerWilco
    RogerWilco 5 meses atrás

    I think the main problem of English is that it has never really had any spelling reforms.

  • Markus Frahm
    Markus Frahm 28 dias atrás +1

    I was wondering if there is a symbol for the sound you make when you keep your mouth shut but agree or disagree. You know that little humming sound that would written look like: "Mhmm huh".

  • Lippeth
    Lippeth Anos atrás +1

    Is the velar trill impossible though? I'm interpreting it as the sound Predator makes but with more airflow giving it a tone, which I'm doing as I type this just to make sure I'm not crazy. The part of my tongue that's in my throat is vibrating against the walls, so maybe that's too far back to count? I do see a symbol for the uvular trill, so maybe that's what I'm doing.

    • Falk Flak
      Falk Flak 10 meses atrás

      I don't think the chart is overly scienific so I think you're right. Just remember it's a group of people who *decided* it would be impossible.

  • Chris aka Schulbus
    Chris aka Schulbus 5 meses atrás

    The one thing i notice but i never was really able to put into words was the sound that specific letters begin with. It's like spelling the letter B (bee) but when saying A it's like (_aa) or F (_eff).
    Also works for ÄÖÜ in german.

  • Loopiloop
    Loopiloop 3 anos atrás +13613

    The distinct lack of him trying to pronounce non-symbol phonemes displeases me

    • Smoke and React
      Smoke and React 10 meses atrás

      i can trill my G's what do i do

    • Molybdaenmornell
      Molybdaenmornell 10 meses atrás

      They're in the book!!! You need to buy it!!!

    • Space Core
      Space Core Anos atrás

      k and trill i think is possible

    • Jürg Nobs
      Jürg Nobs Anos atrás +1

      @supC i mentioned italian because it is a national language in switzerland

    • supC
      supC Anos atrás

      @Jürg Nobs good to know, I did know about italian already, though.

  • Bence 3217
    Bence 3217 11 meses atrás

    What if the glottal sound is possible as speaking but classified as “manual” speaking and in order to pronounce such a letter you make yourself choke on something and have the air go around the sides like L.

  • Scott Hullinger
    Scott Hullinger 5 meses atrás

    There are so many countless languages on planet earth that any such chart or organizational hierarchy could never encompass them all. It barely scratches the surface.

  • Tudd Grimley
    Tudd Grimley Mês atrás

    I took Spanish class for 5 years and never once achieved a trill sound like the one you made here

  • Pineappleisthebest
    Pineappleisthebest 4 meses atrás

    I don't know how you're so good at talking about topics I assume will be boring but then making really interesting videos about it

  • Tiggy Sheppard
    Tiggy Sheppard Anos atrás +4258

    Them: “Velar Trill is impossible”
    Chewbacca: GRGRGRGRGRGRG

    • Petaurista
      Petaurista Anos atrás

      Well... Wookies can't speak Basic due to differently built vocal apparatuses (fun fact: actually plural should be "apparati" as from "-us" ending i assume it's driven from LAtin)

    • Jakob
      Jakob Anos atrás

      The actual Chewbacca voice was made by recording bears and lions. But the way most people do impressions of him are by doing a uvular trill, not velar.

    • Wimbledofy
      Wimbledofy Anos atrás

      @Gbolasere Oni You know a human is the one who made the sound for chewbacca right?

    • 사람 with 가락
      사람 with 가락 Anos atrás

      Try speaking SINDHI its really hard to pronounce for other language speakers
      Some of the sounds that are hard are ڳ ،ٽ، ڏ،ڊ

    • Joshua's Gameplays
      Joshua's Gameplays Anos atrás

      I'm inclined to call that a Postalveolar Trill

  • AmethystDragon18
    AmethystDragon18 4 meses atrás

    i have learned more from tom than from when i had online school

  • Saul Goodman
    Saul Goodman 9 meses atrás

    It is so fun watching Native English speakers roll their Rs. Much like me trying to pronounce TH.

  • Getzo
    Getzo 10 meses atrás

    Damnit, Tom. You made me do so many weird throat noises in the middle of the night while making popcorn and I realized I forgot to close my window. What will my neighbours think of me...?

  • legisnuntius
    legisnuntius 17 dias atrás +1

    The bilabial flap is known as the raspberry. My 2 year old does them all the time.

  • CarrotmanDoesPixelmon
    CarrotmanDoesPixelmon 3 anos atrás +14166

    “By all means try it” if you think I haven’t been imitating a dying owl for the past 30 seconds already...

    • waya
      waya 11 meses atrás


    • I need no channel youtube!
      I need no channel youtube! 11 meses atrás

      Why is it ignored that both Russian (kha), and gaelic has the exact aound as part of its regular vocabulary?

    • Edward Clark
      Edward Clark Anos atrás +1

      Velar trill: UNSUCCESSFUL. VELAR TRILL IS GONNA TAKE PRACTICE. Unless it sounds like Àügh mixed with choking. Glottal lateral I can do. (Sounds like HHGHGHGHHHH

    • Edward Clark
      Edward Clark Anos atrás

      @ 4:40 to 5:48 i can try to do them and show results! Probs gonna Choke-

    • Edward Clark
      Edward Clark Anos atrás

      @Jared Adkinson also works!

  • Dark Warrior
    Dark Warrior Anos atrás

    3:28 I don't know why I find it fun to see only English speakers try and pronounce that

  • Carter Matthews
    Carter Matthews 6 meses atrás +1

    Tom: Those pronunciations are impossible!
    Me, an incoherent sleep-talker: *Maniacal laughter* You foolish dummy, I can pronounce those in my sleep

  • ThiccVader
    ThiccVader 11 meses atrás +2

    In serbian language every letter represents one sound. That makes it easier to write, and you dont need a dictionary to learn specific weird spelling like in english.

  • Michał Droździewicz
    Michał Droździewicz Anos atrás

    I love how IPA sounds like IFA when you take sounds from the words...

  • G C
    G C 3 anos atrás +1789

    Idea for a sci-fi movie: Use a computer to generate some of the impossible sounds and incorporate them into a made up language.

    • Matthew Relucio
      Matthew Relucio 7 meses atrás +1


    • Ben Bovard
      Ben Bovard 11 meses atrás

      @daemonCaptrix I can answer that question

    • ShroudedWolf51
      ShroudedWolf51 Anos atrás

      @G C If they understand, then they'll already know that loads of these things exist already. Fantasy and sci-fi genres have had plenty of brilliant minds for centuries.

    • ShroudedWolf51
      ShroudedWolf51 Anos atrás +1

      All language is made up.

    • parmesian
      parmesian 2 anos atrás

      I know this is an old comment, but I can actually clap with one hand. It sounds like a normal clap, just a little higher in pitch.

  • Status Quo
    Status Quo 5 meses atrás

    My coworker is taking phonetics and it’s super interesting to learn about

  • Forestdude9000
    Forestdude9000 Anos atrás

    So, if all possible human sounds have been put on a chart, can we finally fix the English language?

  • weightlessubz
    weightlessubz Anos atrás

    what boxes are greyed out is decided by the limits of known human anatomy, but what if there's a group of people closed of from the rest of the world (like uncontacted tribes living on an island or something) with a different enough dialect to have evolved to be able to make those sounds? people are physically different based on were there from (eg. skin colour, eye shape, etc,) so its not to much of a stretch that people could have differently shaped mouths and/or throats and be able to make those sounds? idk tho im just theorising.

  • Brianne M.
    Brianne M. 5 meses atrás

    When I was a little kid I made a language with only trills. I gave up after inventing 3 words. Didn't know that some languages used them!